Senior Aja Evans won the 60m dash with a new PR on Saturday at the SASF Invitational held at the Southern Illinois Student Recreation Center.
Jan. 16, 2010
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The No. 19 Illinois women's track and field team started the season off on the right foot with an impressive showing at Southern Illinois' SASF Invitational, including several personal records and two individual event titles on Saturday. Senior Aja Evans won the 60m dash with a personal-best time of 7.63, and sophomore Kendall McCaugherty took home the high jump title with the best leap of her career (1.68m).
"We had some pretty good marks to open the season, so overall it was a good day," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "Aja ran a huge PR to win the 60m, and Kendall had a really solid performance in the high jump."
Two other Illini finished in the top five in the 60m dash, which began with a preliminary field of 62 competitors, as junior Tamika Robinson and sophomore Ashley Kelly (PR) tied for fourth with a time of 7.73. Robinson also turned in a second-place finish in the 60m hurdles (8.63).
"Tamika did well in both sprinting events," Buford-Bailey said. "She is still is getting comfortable with competing, but had two good showings in both her races."
Senior Alecia Beckford-Stewart competed well in four different events, highlighted by a third-place finish in the long jump (5.86m). The Brampton, Ontario, native also placed fourth in the 60m hurdles (8.90) and sixth in the high jump (1.58m), while smashing her previous personal best in the shot put (12.39m) by over half a meter.
"Alecia had a really solid meet," Buford-Bailey said. "She had her best opener in the long jump and had a big PR in the shot put. She is going to be able to put together a really good pentathlon."
In the 400m dash, the Illini grabbed three of the top four spots, led by sophomore Ryisha Boyd's runner-up finish (56.88). Freshman Marissa Golliday placed third (57.13) in her collegiate debut, and sophomore Jayla McArthur ran a new personal best to finish fourth (57.17). Golliday also was Illinois' highest finisher in the 200m, taking sixth (25.62) in a field of 74 sprinters.
"Marissa ran really well for a freshman at her first meet," Buford-Bailey said. "She executed well, and I was really impressed by her."
In the 4x400m relay, the Orange and Blue boasted the third and fourth best squads in a field of 24 teams. The group of Latoya Griffith, McArthur, Kelly and Golliday ran a time of 3:50.86, while the relay of Paris Streeter, K. Smith, Boyd and Melissa Bates finished just two seconds later with a time of 3:52.82
The Illini performed well in a number of field events as well, highlighted by Evans third-place finish in the shot put (15.18m). Sophomore Alexandria Smith finished fifth in the triple jump (11.67m), while freshmen Kayla Smith and Kawanna Brooks took fifth (5.67m) and seventh (5.61m), respectively, in the long jump on Friday. Freshman Maria Scheet also made her collegiate on Friday, placing eighth in the pole vault (3.40m).
In the longer running events, freshman Courtney Yaeger and junior Maggie Mulchrone finished sixth (10:40.12) and seventh (10:42.30), respectively. Freshman Kendra Kennedy was the highest Illini finisher in the 800m (12th, 2:26.00), while freshman Michelle Stratton (12th, 5:19.75) and junior Stacy Hague (13th, 5:20.75) were the top Illini in the mile.
Up Next: Illinois heads home for the Carle/Health Alliance Classic, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 at the UI Armory.